The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will join the Sun Belt Conference in football beginning with the 2017 season, the school announced today.
“On behalf of all of us at Coastal Carolina University, I’m honored to accept the invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference,” CCU President David A. DeCenzo said. “I am grateful to Sun Belt Commissioner, Mr. Karl Benson, for his steadfast support of CCU, and to the Sun Belt presidents and chancellors, who honored CCU by selecting their 12th member school.”
Coastal Carolina will officially join the Sun Belt in all sports except football on July 1, 2016. The football program will be an FBS transitional team in 2016 and will join the Sun Belt in 2017.
The Chanticleers will be able to compete for the Sun Belt football championship in the 2017 season and can then participate in a postseason bowl game following the 2018 season.
Coastal Carolina, located in Conway, South Carolina, has been a member of the Big South Conference since they began playing football in 2003. The Chanticleers have won six Big South championships and have played in the FCS Playoffs four times.
“This is a great day for the Sun Belt Conference as we are very proud to have Coastal Carolina University join our membership,” said Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson. “The Sun Belt is a growing conference with a bright future and Coastal Carolina makes a perfect fit as they too have seen a tremendous amount of growth and have all the tools necessary to move forward at the highest level of collegiate athletics. Under the leadership of President David A. DeCenzo and Athletics Director Matt Hogue, I expect the Chanticleers to be competitive in all Sun Belt sports and to represent the conference in a first-class manner on and off the field.”
Coastal Carolina’s football venue, Brooks Stadium, currently seats 9,214. Upgrades to the stadium will begin immediately to expand capacity to the FBS minimum of 20,000.
The addition of Coastal Carolina will give the Sun Belt 12 football-playing members. The conference plans to split into East-West divisions and hold a championship game in the future. Below is the likely division setup:
Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, South Alabama, Troy
Arkansas State, Idaho, New Mexico State, Texas State, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe